Jimmy Garoppolo has been one of the most pressured quarterbacks in the NFL over the past three seasons and he’s performed slightly above-average when pressured.
During Sunday’s 17-11 loss in their home opener, any pressure put on Garoppolo came organically, as Jonathan Gannon refused to blitz the 49ers quarterback and leave his secondary one on one with Deebo Samuel or George Kittle.
Per Next Gen Stats, the Eagles defense blitzed on just 3 of 30 San Francisco dropbacks (10.0%) and Garoppolo was 0-3 when Philadelphia did blitz.
Per PFF, Garoppolo finished with a 3.6-yard average depth of the target, with only 28.6% of his yards coming through the air. His two turnover-worthy plays came while pressured by the Eagles defensive line, so the question has to be asked, why didn’t Gannon blitz more, allowing Darius Slay and Steven Nelson to play on an Island?
Likely wanting to play it safe with George Kittle fully capable of exposing Philadelphia’s linebackers and safeties, the Eagles played two safeties over the top, choosing to play zone, while also relying on the defensive line to pressure the quarterback from within.
Kittle’s four receptions all came behind the line of scrimmage and his longest play went for eight yards. Kittle was also targeted on only 13.3% of his routes, his lowest target rate in a regular-season game since 2018.
Gannon chose a tight game over-pressuring Garoppolo with the extra defender and he should be applauded for almost pulling it off without his top defensive leader.